Originally Posted by DistantStranger
So, I am going to summarize some of the arguments being presented and try to deal with them in an even handed and general way. I think a lot of this has to do with art and how we see it, and perhaps to a degree some misconceptions on what art is and why it even applies to this conversation.

Let me start by making it clear where I stand on the topic for those of you who haven't seen my thoughts in previous romance and writing threads on this board: I have no interest in romances personally. I cannot see, and absolutely cannot conjure up, the interest in hitting on a character. Its just not for me. I can see other people are very much attached to them, however, and that concerns me a great deal. Slash fiction has existed for at least five hundred years that I know of, probably longer than that. A couple weeks back when we were discussing armor styles I mentioned that when Mallory penned Le Morte d'Arthur in the mid 15th century nobility across Europe commissioned their own side stories, reiterations, and companion pieces inseparable from the original story but with unique variation. A number of them were also erotically charged. Most concerned Guinevere, sometimes she was chaste, sometimes she was faithful, often she was not, and in many of these bespoke works her relationship dynamics were the only thing which was altered. All of this is simply to say that personal feelings aside a significant number of individuals will always be concerned with interpersonal relationships and tales of seduction. That makes this important, regardless of our own predilections.

Set that aside for a moment, I intend to elaborate on Guinevere a bit further a bit later.

Lets speak on someone specifically who very much lived and breathed to make this matter less theoretical. It is good to consider the abstractions, but often we can be lured by specious thought into the realm of the purely imaginative. There is quite a lot to admire about the masters of art, all of them, from Meade Shaeffer to Leonardo da Vinci. You know da Vinci never finished a commission, spent a considerable amount of his life being sued by his patrons for accepting their wealth and never giving them anything in return. He liked to spend every clear morning riding and his evenings in a nearby tavern where he would drink with the locals and draw caricatures of them, as well as any passing strangers and merchants, for nothing more than their delight. If I recall correctly he refused any coin or compensation. He could draw with one hand and simultaneously paint with the other, and both works would be completely different studies. His manservant was illiterate, so when he sent him to the market it was armed with sketches of those things he wished for the man to procure and when he was 24 he was arrested along with a few other youths at an orgy and charged with sodomy. He may have been gay. May have been bisexual. May have been experimenting and unsure. May have been drinking in another room by himself waiting for his friends and their imminent flagrante delecto to resolve themselves. None of it matters. The only importance in such a matter arises from our interest in him, it can become important but only when he is important to us -and perhaps not on even then. One's sexuality is but the smallest facet of whom they are as a person, the least part of a compelling whole.

If knowing da Vinci may have been queer alters your perception of him, it is not because something fundamental about he himself has changed only your own feelings about him. It isn't in and of itself important, merely important to you. There can be great comfort and satisfaction, I imagine, for some people who wish to explore those aspects of another's sexuality, but ultimately they are trivial. As inconsequential as how one might prefer their eggs. Our value, as human beings, is not tied to those things which we consume. In order for that to become the measure of someone they have to have nothing else. Nothing they have created, nothing they have accomplished, nothing at all.

That would be tragic.

Now let us return to Guinevere. She is often, and best, known for her internal, titanic, struggle between the man she loved with her very being and the other she loved with her tortured heart. . .And it was all a later invention reflecting the trends of courtly -and theoretically platonic but always true- love in ascendance at the time, as with Lancelot's chastity. In the earliest poems and tales we have of each, some four centuries earlier than the best known story with which are all familiar, she was faithful while Lancelot would wed Iblis. Does this change their characters? Very much so. Not because whether they had sex with one another was important in and of itself rather because of the struggle not the sex. We are all ultimately what we do, it wasn't their attraction that was interesting, it was their attempts to resist it and their failure and what would happen as a result.

Were we playing a video game telling their story and playing one of them, whether we chose to experience that story with heterosexual preference or homosexual it would not change a God damn thing that matters

Spoiler for length. I find myself agreeing with nearly all of @firesnakearies' points. [ as I tend to do unless we are talking about rulesets -- how can someone who is so right about about so much be wrong about 5e? smile ] If anything this only an adjunct / additional angle to the points they have made.

Likewise with @distant stranger I am torn between my desire to agree because with the points made because they were made so eloquently and, well, the fact that disagree with some of your points so profoundly.

On this point about Davinci:

None of it matters. The only importance in such a matter arises from our interest in him, it can become important but only when he is important to us -and perhaps not on even then. One's sexuality is but the smallest facet of whom they are as a person, the least part of a compelling whole.

Let's agree that it matters when we are interested in him. We get to see the man behind the mask and both of your examples -- the man of the people who upset his patrons, the person who partook in the decadence of renaissance Italian. But it also helps us understand the time that much better. Why did zealots like Savonarola burn painting in large bonfires? What, in Savonarola's mind, was the connection between art, decadence and corruption? Knowing that the famed painter was caught in vice raid helps that. I also helps me understand the deep sensuality of his portrait of John the Baptist. Knowing the painter was thirsting helps me interpret the artwork that much better.

In terms of the game the authors seem to be going for the "man behind the mask" Wyll, the folk hero, has a dark secret. You, his confidant, get a peek and the man behind the mask and can pledge to free him from his bonds. Wyll has a unique model and you can see the results of Spike's torture when he removes his shirt. Nudity is revealing -- his story is written on his body and when he naked before the main character he is vulnerable.

This is even more true of Astarian since his scars literally take the form of words. He is a seducer, one who doesn't even remove his mask in the bedroom, someone who is capable of appearing clothed even while naked. But we see the mask slip the next morning. We seem him basking in the sunlight and we touch a sensitive spot when we notice the scars. Astarian is someone who is -- quite literally -- incapable of looking the in mirror. Without his master he's lost, perhaps he will come to understand himself when he sees himself reflected in Tav's eyes.

Both romances move the story forward and makes the associated quests a bit deeper than Mario-princess story or Cazador as an end boss.

So I want to dial up the romance. I want more interactions, more conversations and more text. (and I know this Larian and not J.E. Sawyer but please give me a wall of text. Letters? Diary entries? A literal wall with writing on it?)